Central’s Keller finishes 12th in state meet

Lexi Keller Rich Cooley/Daily

THE PLAINS — Lexi Keller gave it everything she had Saturday, and in her final cross country race she was rewarded with an all-state medal.

The Central senior placed 12th in the girls Group 2A state meet Saturday at Great Meadows.

“It’s definitely been a dream of mine ever since I was a freshman,” Keller said of making all-state. “I never really thought that it would be within my reach, but I’m definitely glad it was.”

Keller was a little wobbly after she crossed the finish line in her finish time of 20:00, but said that she knew she had to give it her all.

“I didn’t want to have any regrets in the end,” Keller said. “I wanted to know that I put forth every bit of energy that I had, and I definitely think it paid off.”

Keller helped lead the Falcons to a seventh-place finish (188 points) in the meet, which was won by Maggie Walker with 30 points. Maggie Walker’s Emma Call won the 2A girls race in a time of 18:31.

Central coach Melissa Wright said she was very happy for Keller.

“It’s what you always hope for, for a kid,” Wight said. “She came in as freshman, and has been an instrumental part of our top seven from the very beginning. To see a young lady of that character finish strong today — it’s just great.”

Strasburg’s Grace Dellinger was 37th (21:24) and teammate Caroline Miller was 54th (22:06).

Madison Nichols (45th, 21:47), Lander Barbour (47th, 21:50), Shennan Waldron (65th, 22:30) and Jasmine Cardoso (78th, 22;56) rounded out the top five for Central.

Stonewall Jackson’s girls team finished fifth in the Group 1A state meet. The Generals finished with 139 points, just three points behind fourth-place Northumberland.

The Generals have a very young squad with only one senior on the team, and coach Mary Clanahan said it was a good experience for the younger runners.

“They came out and it was an eye-opener for some of them,” Clanahan said. “To go to state level, there’s a lot of people sitting at home this afternoon and these kids aren’t. …We’re pretty happy. To be top five in the state is still good for the girls.”

Junior Brandy Webb led the Generals by finishing 17th in a time of 21:38.

Webb said that the wind made it really tough on the runners.

“It was windy and that made it bad,” Webb said. “That’s the best I could do in it.”

Sophomore LuLu Funkhouser (34th, 22:21), freshman Carly Bennett (37th, 22:26), freshman Haley Bennett (42nd, 22:34) and senior Hayley Gibson (54th, 23:02) were the rest of the top five for the Generals.

Radford won the 1A state meet with 49 points, while Rappahannock County’s Julia Wood won the individual state title in a time of 19:44.

Warren County’s girls placed seventh in the girls 3A state meet with 211 points.

Senior Claire Morrow led the Wildcats by placing 33rd in a time of 20:39.

“I felt good,” Morrow said. “The last couple races I’ve been going out a little too fast and getting tired early. So I kind of toned it back, and I had a lot better race. I was just trying to enjoy it because it was my last race, and I’m really happy with the outcome.”

Morrow was followed closely by teammate Jacqui Ris, who placed 36th (20:45).

Warren County coach Joseph Owens said he was very pleased with his young team.

“To come here and have a decent showing, and to have this experience that’s the biggest part,” Owens said. “Because we do have the pieces, and we have pieces coming up. …We’re really going to miss Claire. She’s just fantastic as far as talent, leadership and just great as far as her whole demeanor on the team.

“We have seniors we’re going to miss. But just as a program as a whole to get here and have this experience — that’s priceless.”

Rebecca Ranney (51st, 21:36), Carlene Viers (64th, 22;15) and Victoria Partin (87th 23:36) rounded out Warren County’s top five runners.

Blacksburg won the 3A state title with 23 points, while Blacksburg’s Sophia Link won the individual state title in a time of 18:13.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com